Conservative columnist George Will attacked Bill O'Reilly's new book, "Killing Reagan, in the Washington Post on Thursday -- calling it "a tissue of unsubstantiated assertions" that "will distort public understanding of Ronald Reagan’s presidency more than hostile but conscientious scholars could" -- and to the surprise of absolutely no one, O'Reilly shot back last night.
Will's criticism was admittedly harsh. He warned readers of O'Reilly's book to beware, as they were "about to enter a no-facts zone," and referred to the book as "nonsensical history and execrable citizenship," so it's not as O'Reilly wasn't within his rights to be offended.
And offended he was. He began by noting the difference between "slander" and "libel," which Will misused in his column -- because, of course, noting one error in an otherwise sound review of a book invalidates all of the other valid criticisms contained therein.
He then claimed to be a champion of tough-but-honest appraisal, saying that Will is "regurgitat[ing] attacks on the book from Reagan loyalists who tried to get 'Killing Reagan' spiked even before it was published, because they wanted a deification of the president, not an honest look at him."
O'Reilly complained that "Will never called me, even though it's not even direct dial, it's just an extension, as he works for Fox News -- but even so, we harbor no ill will, pun intended, and invited George onto 'The Factor' tomorrow."
He then challenged Will to have "the courage factor" required to defend himself, as if the onetime co-founder of "The Week with David Brinkley" would somehow be afraid to speak to someone of O'Reilly's intellectual pedigree.
Watch the entire segment below via Mediaite.